2012 NFL Free Agency: Updated Cleveland Browns Potential Targets

Richard BairdContributor IIMarch 13, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agency: Updated Cleveland Browns Potential Targets

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    While the Cleveland Browns are not in the running to sign Peyton Manning, Mario Williams, Carl Nicks or many other players that are looking to join a team they consider a Super Bowl contender there are still a number of free agents that either are not getting mentioned in the local media or have recently been cut by teams in salary cap binds the Browns should consider in free agency

    This list highlights a few such candidates, plus why they would fit into the team's plans now and in the future.

Levi Brown, OT

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    With the release of Tony Pashos and the general lack of performance by Cleveland right tackles the last several years, going after the former Nittany Lion makes great sense.

    Brown, a big physical presence at 6'6" 325 lbs., has started every game for the past four years. Originally a fifth overall pick, Levi Brown was a salary cap casualty in Arizona.

Eric Winston, OT

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    Similarly, Eric Winston is one of the better right tackles in the league and would be a great addition to the 2012 roster. He hasn't missed a game since he was a rookie in 2006.

Jason Campbell

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    For some reason, Jason Campbell never seems to get any respect for what he has done in his career.

    He consistently produces seasons with passer ratings over 80 (82.8 career average). He has played quarterback for two of the worst teams in the league during his career in Washington and Oakland and has fared better than average. He's used to the adversity he'd face in Cleveland and could even thrive under the right circumstances.

    He'd be playing behind the best offensive line he's seen in his career, as sad as that sounds. If nothing else, he'd be an adequate and inexpensive stop-gap until the Browns can find a franchise quarterback.

    Personally, I would much rather have Campbell throwing the ball in December and January against the Steelers and Ravens than Matt Flynn.

Ben Grubbs, G

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    I think updating the guard position is less important than right tackle, but Grubbs is a road-grader and would certainly be an upgrade over the Jason Pinkston-Shawn Lauvao combination at the guard spots. You can't expect anything from Eric Steinbach following his major injury last year, so upgrading with a veteran presence could be very important.

Pierre Garcon, WR

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    Pierre Garcon would provide the downfield, big-play target the Browns so desperately need to open up the offense. If paired with a quarterback that can actually throw the deep ball, Garcon can be quite dangerous.

    However, his numbers in Indianapolis, with and without Manning, are probably going to significantly raise his price.

Israel Idonije, DE

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    Israel Idonije would help provide a pass rush opposite Jabaal Sheard and experience along the defensive line if he returns to Cleveland, which is where he started his NFL career as a member of the practice squad

    At 31 he's not a long-term answer, but he could provide a bridge and mentoring. Everything you can find about Idonije points to him being an excellent citizen and teammate.

Terrell Thomas, CB

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    Terrell Thomas is a promising talent, but there are concerns about his health and durability after tearing his ACL

    If healthy, he would team with Joe Haden to form one of the finest cornerback duos in the league.

    The price, for his talent, could be significantly lower than the value if he can stay healthy.


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    Obviously, the Browns won't get all the players I've mentioned, but they should fill a few glaring holes with quality free agents even though it goes against Tom Heckert's strategy. Most of the big holes need long term solutions, and the draft is always the best way to build a team.